Strategic plan of action for Welsh meat

The Welsh Assembly Government has launched a Strategic Action Plan to safeguard and further develop the Welsh red meat industry.

Prepared by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), the strategy aims to improve the business performance of both farmers and processors, foster innovation and supply-chain links and improve the industry’s level of understanding of market trends, and to influence consumer behaviour.

HCC chair Rees Roberts said: “This is one of the most important and forward-looking documents ever produced for the red meat industry in Wales.”

“It’s a challenging document and addresses a huge number of different issues, including marketing, research and development, future trends and climate change. Key to the success of the industry is identifying the market, knowing the customer and meeting their needs,” he added.

HCC added it is working on a number of projects that will be of benefit to the industry including funding a research project into biodigestoring at Bangor University in conjunction with the Welsh Assembly Government, and it is also spearheading a video image analysis project which will provide an objective measurement and consistency for carcase grading at abattoirs.

The action plan has backing from farming representatives and industry figures including NFU Cymru and the Farmers’ Union of Wales.

British Meat Processors Association food policy manager Philip Hambling said: “The last 12 months has shown how much and how quickly the goalposts can move in the modern marketplace. This strategy is ambitious and thorough. The key to success is ensuring we embrace all parts of the chain and apply resources smartly to areas that deliver the most benefit.”

Policy director of the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers, Norman Bagley, also welcomed the direction of the strategy and said he believed it would be a major step forward for medium and small abattoirs and the processing sector in Wales.